Virginia R. Brown credits a positive attitude and eating healthy to longevity

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Being 102 years old is a major accomplishment. Centenarians are rare.

There are 450,000 centenarians throughout the world, according to TheCentenarian, and the highest number of centenarians is in the United States.

The numbers of Americans aged 100 and over were 72,197 in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of those centenarians, Virginia R. Brown, moved from San Francisco to Lincoln in 2012.

Celebrating her 102nd birthday this past Aug. 5, Brown has a few reasons why she is living a long healthy life.

“Take life as it comes; be positive, not negative. Being negative is uncomfortable,” Brown said. “And eat healthy. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.”

She especially enjoys apples.

Living in San Francisco for 70 years before moving here, Brown also swam an hour every day.

Having a close family is very important to her. Her best part of life, Brown said, is her family and other people. In fact, Brown’s favorite decade was her 30s when her children were growing up.

And she moved six years ago to Lincoln to live with her daughter, Sheridan Brown. A year ago, Virginia Brown moved to Splendor Senior Care five miles away.

Her daughter visits her mother every day.

“It’s wonderful having Sheridan so close,” said the centenarian, about seeing her daughter every day.

Sheridan Brown said her mother has a great sense of humor.

That’s evident today as her mother quickly responds with funny answers.

Asked what she looks forward to, the answer was chocolate, specifically more milk chocolate Hershey’s Kisses.

The Lincoln News Messenger mentioned that Hershey’s Kisses has been around a long time and Brown joked, “So have I.”

When asked what she thought about being 102, Brown responded, “Not much.”

Brown never made it a mission to reach this rare ranking and, in hindsight, often wondered how she did.

Her daughter added that her mother was a sickly child with pneumonia.

“I was skinny so I had to eat milkshakes at the principal’s office in Great Falls, Montana,” Brown reminisced.

After art school, Brown was a homemaker for 14 years. She entered the workforce as a dental receptionist and then worked in property management while raising her daughter and son in San Francisco.

The centenarian is a great role model.

“She’s very stoic. She lets little or nothing bother her,” Sheridan Brown said. “She always looks at the bright side of things.”

Brown, who growing up regularly heard about the Depression, World War II and the Lindbergh kidnapping on the radio and in the newspaper, said that today’s news is “very negative.”

She had some advice to readers: “Make life more pleasant for more people. Go with the flow.”

And, Brown added later with a smile, “Grow up!”